Turkey’s President has been slammed as “chauvinistic” for his insistence that motherhood must come before a career. Leave campaigners have repeated warnings that remaining within the European Union will lead to political union with Turkey.
Speaking at the opening of Turkey’s new Women and Democracy Association, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan asserted: “A woman who abstains from motherhood saying “I am working” means she is in fact rejecting motherhood. I absolutely don’t accept making business life [ie work] an alternative to motherhood,” the Daily Mail has reported.
He continued: “Rejecting motherhood means giving up on humanity. I would recommend having at least three children. A woman who rejects motherhood, who refrains from being around the house, however successful her working life is, is deficient, is incomplete.”
And although he said he supported a woman’s right to choose to have a career, he emphasised that it must not be at the cost of motherhood. “The fact that a woman is attached to her professional life should not prevent her from being a mother,” he said, adding that Turkey had taken “important steps” to support working mothers.
His comments were slammed by the UK Independence Party’s employment spokesman Jane Collins, who called them “chauvinist,” and questioned why the British government was advocating a political union with a country who did not respect women’s rights.
“Women must be able to choose their own paths in life – whether that is having children, having a career or having both,” she insisted.
“This is a country which the EU and our government wants to join in political union and they clearly don’t have respect for women and are only interested in their ability to reproduce – and presumably clean up after their husbands.
“Perhaps Mr Erdogan and men who think like him should have a look at the huge contributions women have made: from Jane Austen to Marie Curie; the bravery of the suffragettes and women who serve in our Armed Forces now and kept the country running during two world wars.”
The Leave campaign has repeatedly warned the British public that a vote to remain within the European Union will be a vote for political union with Turkey, as well as other eastern bloc countries. The EU has already promised Erdogan visa-free access to EU member states in return for their help on the migrant crisis breaking across the Union.
Ms Collins echoed those warnings, expressing astonishment that feminist Remain campaigners such as Labour grandee Harriet Harman can back the European project.
“How can anyone who calls themselves a feminist support this chauvinistic country joining the EU?” she asked, adding: “I hope British women have the sense to vote to leave on June 23rd.”
Turkey’s population has risen by about 10 million over the last 16 years, thanks to the government’s emphasis on creating strong, large families. Erdogan has in the past described birth control as “treason,” and yesterday repeated calls not to use it.
Turkey is a country “with great goals,” he said, and to achieve them “every member of the nation should be mobilised.”
He concluded: “Strong families lead to strong nations.”